Tuesday, June 25, 2013

St. Mark's Square and the Basilica of St. Mark

The square sports two famous rival cafes, which provide orchestral accompaniment to your tea or hot cocoa. We chose Florians, Italy’s oldest (founded 1720) café. It’s also probably Italy’s most expensive - 33 euros (about $43) for tea, scones and a cup of cocoa - but worth it to sit where Byron, Dickens and Casanova were probably also overcharged for their tea.


But, of course, we came to St. Mark's Square see the Basilica, including the ornate mosaics and carvings over its doors:


We arrived just before they closed the staircase to the upper levels, where you can see the magnificent horses that lord over the front facade, so up we scurried. The horses on the outside are copies of the originals, but the originals, acquired during the sack of Constantinople in 1204 and probably originally of Roman manufacture in the 8th or 9th century, are displayed inside and are still quite magnificent.


You also get a lovely view of the Basilica floor from the loggia above:

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